ARCHIVED - Appendix 4: Presentation by Peter Liang

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Presentation by Peter Liang


Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue – Simon Fraser University
580 West Hastings Street – VANCOUVER
Asia Pacific Hall
November 24, 2008

I joined Statistics Canada in January 2006 to work on the Census. I soon realized the importance of being bilingual in both official languages in the public service. Being fluent in three languages already (English, Cantonese and Mandarin), I convinced myself that the addition of French would open up many more career opportunities for me, not least in the public service.

At that time, my position did not require me to be bilingual in English and French, and I did not think I would be eligible for the training courses offered by the Canada School of Public Service. Compared with many, I have a natural ease with languages, and I therefore decided to try to learn the language by myself.

My first step was to check out the audio-visual resources at the Vancouver Public Library. I took out a number of cassettes on French pronunciation. A friend of mine who had spent many years in Paris was very supportive and was always available whenever I had questions. I also took out a 500-page French grammar book and read it thoroughly. My knowledge of English grammar and of the various grammatical terminologies proved to be a great help in my understanding of French grammar. But the greatest resource I was able to find at the library was an online feature called “Press Display”—it enables users to access major newspapers from around the world, and not only read the articles, but also listen to them. I have found it an excellent way to enlarge my vocabulary and “train” my ears to French pronunciation and intonations at the same time. The interactive learning resources offered by Campusdirect5 were also very useful.

Learning French would become my number one priority and passion for the next two years. I spent hours a day reading French articles, watching French TV and listening to French radio programs. I also joined a number of French conversation clubs in Vancouver, where I have gained a lot of confidence in speaking the language. My efforts paid off—in early 2008, I successfully passed all three French exams of the Government of Canada.

Learning French has been a tremendously rewarding experience for me. I started off thinking that it would be great for my career, but I have gained so much more. Through this journey, which I will undoubtedly continue, I have come to discover and embrace another side of the Canadian identity and heritage. I am prouder than ever to say that I am a true Canadian.


5. Campusdirect is the Canada School of the Public Service’s online campus.

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